Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Something On a Saturday Afternoon

                                       Something On a Saturday Afternoon


                                                                    Jay Agan

      As stated in previous articles, our local TV stations didn't have horror/sci-fi flicks on in the afternoons. This was something reserved for after 11:30 PM & on weekends at that. I suspect this was because of central Ohio being a conservative area & the stations didn't want to offend "bible belt" sensibilities.

      We kids weren't allowed to stay up past 11 PM so any chance of watching such kool stuff was less than minimal. Other kids were allowed to on weekends & I always felt left out in discussions at school or on the bus. All that great stuff they got to see on Chiller Theater (Ch 10, WBNS) & all I could do was ask annoying questions.

      This was "torture" to me & my only resort was in reading about these great movies that were out of reach. By the late 60s it got so I was very knowlegable of these flicks years before I got to see any of them. Thanks to Famous Monsters of Filmland & other sources, I was the "scarey" movie expert at school.

      One "bright spot" occured in those "wilderness" years on a mid-Saturday afternoon in '63. After a short session of comic book reading (There was no such thing as "graphic novels" or manga back then. I can't use that word. Sounds like some kind of fruit or veg.), I head downstairs to the fridge. I notice younger brother watching something on TV: An "army guy" (Oh boy! A war movie!) letting a babe pass through a roadblock to snap pictures of a devastated town. I sat down for a look-see.

      After a while we're introduced to a couple of scientists growing way oversized fruits & vegs using radioactive substances. It was starting to get interesting.

      The military allows babe reporter & nerd boys to examine the devastation again. When the giant grasshopper came over the wreckage & gizorped one of the whiz kids (Played by Ed Extra.) I was hooked! Hey! Some science fiction! All right!

      It later developes the grasshoppers were the inadvertant result of the plant experiments & the swarm is moving on Chicago. The flick: Beginning of the End.

"Uh, Peggie. Have you ever been inside a Turkish prison? Uh,
..... have you ever been in a crummy movie?" Peter Graves
& Peggie Castle in Beginning of the End. Credit: Republic
      It's not a very good film. A Bert I. Gordon hack job from 1957. The story is typical 50s schlock with laughable special effects. The kind of sloppy science fantasy you'd expect to find of that era.

      Yet. To a thrill starved "monster kid" as I was, this was a piece of HEAVEN!

      I didn't feel so left out at school that following Monday.

                                     Article copyright © 3-15-2011 Jay Agan

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